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Dr. Eva-Maria Walther

Doctoral Project

Hilfe für Flüchtlinge in der Slowakei: Chaotische Begegnungen, moralische Dilemmata und gemischte Gefühle  abgeschlossen

Helping refugees in Slovakia: Messy encounters, moral dilemmas, and mixed emotions  completed

This dissertation examines actors who actively engage for minorities, migrants, and diversity in Slovakia and thereby stand up to the dominant discourse which prioritizes security and national homogeneity over tolerance. Why do these actors choose to confront popular opinion, and how do they resolve the tension between the (seemingly opposing) objectives of protecting national identity and embracing difference? In order to disentangle the various commitments of tolerance proponents, I will carry out ethnographic fieldwork within church-affiliated and civic associations, consisting of interviews and participant observation. I take an individual approach to the emergence of engaged subjects, assuming that individual agency and personhood always includes elements of bricolage and heteroglossia which allows people to hold contradictory views at the same time. This ambiguity ultimately leads to the coexistence of distinct, but intricately linked discourses in the public sphere. The project aims to enhance the current debate on the rise of populism and nationalist movements in formerly socialist countries.

Curriculum Vitae

Eva-Maria Walther was born in 1990 in Karlsruhe. After a European Voluntary Service in Brno, Czech Republic, she studied Historical and Cultural Anthropology and Slavistics on a Bachelor level at the universities of Tübingen and Pécs, Hungary. From 2014 to 2016, she completed a master program in Social Anthropology at Stockholm University. She is also a co-founder of the department’s scientific podcast, AnthroTalking. She earned her Master of Science degree for her dissertation titled “Caring Agents: Balancing profit and moral integrity in transnational care work agencies in Slovakia”. Since November 2016, she is a scholarship holder and doctoral student at the Graduate School of East- and Southeast European studies in Regensburg, supervised by Prof. Dr. Ger Duijzings. From 2017 to 2018 she was assigned Deputy doctoral student representative of the Graduate School. She was also part of the organization team for the interdisciplinary workshop "Bridging disciplines, Scales, and Methods: Synergies between History and Anthropology Today” in 2017 as well as of the Graduate Conference “Unbuilding Binaries: Exploring affective and analytical responses to binary divisions as encountered in the field” in cooperation with the ScienceCampus “Europe and America in the Modern World” in 2020 at the University of Regensburg.

Positions, Assignments and Memberships


Journal Articles and Book Chapters

with Ger Duijzings and Frederik Lange: “Reenactments and Live Art Performances as Strategies Of Experiential Learning: Reenacting the Historical, Enacting the Everyday, Acting out Rupture.” In Nena Mocnik, Ger Duijzings & Bonface Njeresa Beti (eds): Engaging with Historical Traumas: Experiential Learning and Pedagogies of Resilience. London: Routledge. 2021. Forthcoming.

with Kai-Olaf Lang: "Slowakei: Neuanfang mit Unbekannten: Nach der Abwahl der Sozialdemokraten ist eine brüchige Regierungskoalition zu erwarten." SWP-Aktuell 2020 A20, Berlin: Stiftung für Wissenschaft und Politik, 8p.

"Caring agents. How Slovak job agencies sell care work abroad." In: Irish Journal of Anthropology 19 (1: conference issue), 2016, 66-73.

"Border Experts in Action. Transnational Care Work Agencies in Slovakia as Actors in a Border Regime.” Der Donauraum 55 (3–4), pp. 173-183

Further Publications

Book review „Das ist so typisch persisch! Eine Untersuchung diasporischer Erinnerungskulturen am Beispiel der zweiten Generation iranischer MigrantInnen in Deutschland“ by Sahar Sarreshtehdari. Anthropological Journal of European Cultures 28 (1), pp. 122-124.

Book review “School of Europeanness: Tolerance and Other Lessons in Political Liberalism in Latvia” by Dace Dzenovska. Anthropological Journal of European Cultures 28 (2), pp. 116-118.

With Patrick Ralph: The End of the Liberal Order? Central, East, and Southeast European Populism in Comparative Perspective, 01.06.2017 – 03.06.2017 Regensburg [Conference Report]. In: H-Soz-Kult, 22.07.2017. URL: http://www.hsozkult.de/conferencereport/id/tagungsberichte-7260.

Blog accompanying the dissertation project

Presentations (selected)


"Developing a taste for difference. Migrant Advocacy and Gastronomic Diversity in Slovakia" at EASA Biennial Conference (Online conference)


"Brokers in straightjackets: The precarity and originality of actors in Slovak refugee care services" at DGSKA Biennial Conference, University of Konstanz


"Complicated matches: personal relationships between refugees and their supporters in Slovakia", IUAES World Congress, Florianopolis (Brazil)

"Anthropological Approaches to Engaged Subjects. Studying Actors in Slovak Refugee Care Services".(Jahrestagung der Graduiertenschule für Ost- und Südosteuropastudien "Studying East and Southeast Europe as Area Studies: Paradigms - Themes - Methods for the 21st Century", München, 25.-27.10.2018)


'Slovakia's tolerance proponents: Challenging a hegemonic discourse on migration.' (Konferenz "City, Community and the Transformation of Space in Post-Eastern Block societies", Lazarski University, Warsaw, 24.06.2017)

"Entangled Opponents: Tolerance and Nationalism in Slovakia." (JOE-Tagung „Verflechtungen, Transfer und Kontakt in und mit Osteuropa“, Köln, 14.-16.07.2017)

"Whose realm, whose culture? Challenges and opportunities for anthropologists within area studies". (SIEF Young Scholars Working Group Conference "Coming of age. Young scholars in the field of Folkloristics, Ethnology and Anthropology", Göttingen, 26.03.2017)


"Caring Agents? The impact of transnational job agencies on life trajectories of migrants from Central Europe" (Young Scholars Forum on Central- and South East Europe at the Institute for the Danube Region and Central Europe, Wien, Dezember 2016).

"Selling care and workers: How transnational job agencies in Slovakia commodify care work" (Annual Conference of the Czech Association of Social Anthropology "Ambiguity", Prag, September 2016).

"Caring agents – Agents of care? How Slovak job agencies sell care work abroad" (Swedish Anthropology Association Conference "Inside and Outside Anthropology", Gothenburg, April 2016).

"Care crossing borders – Transnational job agencies in Slovakia and the commodification of care work" (Annual Conference of the Anthropology Association of Ireland "Caring Cultures-Cultures of Care", Maynooth, März 2016).